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Eye On Boise archive for Feb. 2010

FRIDAY, FEB. 19, 2010

Bill gives lawmakers more say in redistricting 

Here's a news item from The Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A Republican lawmaker is making another run at revamping how Idaho draws up election boundaries every 10 years. Rep. Tom Loertscher's bill, introduced in the House State Affairs Committee Friday, would let the…

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Dems' delaying move on HCR 42 fails

It turns out that Democrats won't be able to bring HCR 42 back for reconsideration in the House, because the speaker ruled that under House Rule 40, though serving notice to reconsider normally would mean reconsideration could be taken up the next legislative day, if…

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House suspends rules, takes up PERSI COLA

The full House has suspended its rules and is now considering HCR 42, the bill to block a scheduled 1 percent cost-of-living increase for state retirees. The bill just emerged from the State Affairs Committee yesterday on a party-line vote, after being killed overwhelmingly in…

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Guv applauds JFAC decisions

Gov. Butch Otter has issued a statement applauding JFAC for its decisions on balancing the current year's state budget and protecting public schools from any mid-year cut this year. "The JFAC plan is an appropriate response to the latest economic news," Otter said in the…

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'The budget for 2010 is balanced'

Cathy Holland-Smith, legislative budget director, told JFAC her staff is distributing its first general fund budget update, showing the impact of budget decisions the joint committee just has made. "It does reflect very, very difficult choices, but at this point the budget for 2010 is…

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Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, presides over the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee Friday as it votes to protect public schools from budget cuts this year, though schools face even bigger cuts next year. (Betsy Russell)

Second motion passes unanimously

The second motion in JFAC this morning, from Co-Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, has passed on a unanimous, 19-0 vote. "This motion restores the money to public schools that was taken in the previous motion," said Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert. "It is totally restored,…

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The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee takes action Friday morning to cut the current year's budget; though most agencies will see deep, 7.1 percent cuts, public schools would be protected by tapping reserve and stimulus funds. (Betsy Russell)

First motion passes on party-line vote

The first motion has passed JFAC on a party-line vote, 15-4, to cut $188.75 million out of the current year's budget. The committee's four Democrats voted no. "The bottom line is so much lower than the governor's proposal," said Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum. "It does…

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JFAC members gather for a 7 a.m. workshop on Friday to prepare for major budget-cutting actions scheduled to start at 8 a.m. The cuts are in the current year's budget, due to falling state revenues. (Betsy Russell)

The magnitude of the cuts...

As JFAC prepares for momentous decisions this morning - how to balance the current year's budget with $69 million less than the state thought it had as of the governor's State of the State address in January - the scale of the cuts is starting…

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THURSDAY, FEB. 18, 2010

Bill exempts rural homes from fire code 

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A Senate panel sided with backers of giving people more freedom to build rural homes where and how they please, even if they don't conform to fire safety rules. Under the measure, SB…

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Retiree: 'Leave our money alone!' 

Vern Bisterfeldt, who worked as a Boise city police officer for 28 years, then served as an Ada County commissioner, and now serves on the Boise City Council, is speaking out against the move by the House State Affairs Committee today to block a 1…

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About 200 school board members from throughout the state filled the Senate Education Committee meeting on Thursday afternoon. The president of the Idaho School Boards Association, Wayne Freedman, told lawmakers that school districts need maximum flexibility to cope with looming budget cuts. (Betsy Russell)

School trustees plead for flexibility in cuts

There are 200 school board members from all over the state in town today for an Idaho School Boards Association meeting, and that's why the Legislature's largest hearing room, the west wing auditorium, is full for the Senate Education Committee meeting this afternoon, where ISBA…

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Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, displays an antique doorknob - an original from the state Capitol - that was anonymously left in a box on his desk. Many of the heavy brass doorknobs, heavily etched with the state seal, disappeared over the years. Stegner said he intends to get it back on a Statehouse door. (Betsy Russell)

Long-lost doorknob returns... 

Sen. Joe Stegner found a box on his desk today, and in it was one of the original missing antique heavy brass doorknobs from the state Capitol, with the state seal and the saying "Esto Perpetua" deeply engraved into its surface, along with a note.…

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Who's affected by PERSI fight?

The legislative dust-up over a scheduled 1 percent cost of living adjustment that state retirees are scheduled to receive in March affects 33,000 retirees from 728 employers, the largest of which is the state; the employers also include local units of government across the state,…

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Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, pitches the "Firearm Freedom Act" to the House State Affairs Committee on Thursday, exempting any Idaho-manufactured guns or ammunition from all federal laws and from registration requirements. The committee agreed to introduce his bill. (Betsy Russell)

Harwood proposes 'Firearm Freedom Act' 

Idaho would declare that any gun or ammunition manufactured in the state doesn't have to be registered and is exempt from all federal laws and regulations, under legislation introduced at the request of Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, this morning. "This is a state sovereignty…

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PERSI: 'They're the plan sponsor' 

Don Drum, director of the Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho, said of a legislative committee's surprise reconsideration and passage today of previously-killed legislation to block a 1 percent COLA for state retirees next month, "They're the plan sponsor, and they can make decisions. ...…

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Dems leaders blast PERSI switch

House minority leaders are blasting the GOP majority for its move today to suddenly, and without notice, reconsider already-killed legislation blocking a 1 percent COLA for state retirees - which was scheduled to take effect in March. House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, said the…

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